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October 20, 2009


News Blog


UC Merced’s First Homecoming – Oct. 24

All UC Merced alumni are invited to Homecoming 2009: “A Growing Tradition,” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24.  Alumni are encouraged to participate in finalizing the Alumni Association constitution, attend a celebratory luncheon with Chancellor and Mia Kang, and enjoy a day visiting with old friends – students, faculty and staff. Career Services will offer workshops and much more.

Visit the UC Merced Alumni Association Web site to view the proposed constitution. All alumni who attend will have the opportunity to sign the document.

Construction of the Little Lake Park Amphitheater is moving along, and a dedication is being planned for this spring. Look in future issues of this newsletter for details.

Stay Connected – E-mail Forwarding For Life

Are you taking advantage of e-mail forwarding for life? Maintain access to your UC Merced e-mail address by updating your information on the UC Merced Portal. For instructions, visit alumni.ucmerced.edu and click on Alumni Benefits.

For information, contact Alumni Affairs Coordinator Stefani Madril at (209) 228-2586.


MTS Lecture Series – Oct. 26

The theme for this semester’s Mind, Technology, and Society (MTS) lecture series is “computational thinking.” Sponsored by the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, the talks are free and open to students, staff, faculty and the general public. The following presentations will be held Mondays at 2:30 p.m. in KL 232:

Oct. 26 – Vinod Menon, Stanford

Nov. 2 – Lin Tian, UC Merced

Nov. 9 – Dharmendra Modha, IBM

Nov. 16 – David Noelle, UC Merced

The talks are free and open to general public. For information: ckello@ucmerced.edu or cogsci.ucmerced.edu.

University Friends Circle Lunch – Nov. 3

Members of the University Friends Circle (UFC) will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Merced Multicultural Arts Center on Main Street.

The UFC provides a forum for UC Merced staff and faculty, and their families, to engage in open discussion and interact with members of the surrounding communities. The cost is $20, and includes lunch. For information on joining the UFC or to RSVP for lunch: Christine Howe, (209) 228-4190.

Arts UC Merced Presents… Merced Symphony – Nov. 7

The Merced Symphony's opening concert, sponsored by the Teichert Foundation, will be at 7:30 p.m. at the UC Merced Lakireddy Auditorium on Saturday, Nov. 7.

The Merced Symphony will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with soloist Patrice Stribling Nelson, Felix Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Symphony No. 35 "The Haffner," conducted by Henrik jul Hansen. A pre-concert reception begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $5 for UC Merced students.

For information: arts.ucmerced.edu

Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series – Nov. 14

On Nov. 14, the Frontiers of Science and Engineering Lecture Series will feature School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts professor Robin DeLugan. Her lecture, “Academic Frontiers: How Anthropology Studies Science,” starts at 10 a.m. at the Castle Challenger Learning Center, 3460 Challenger Way, Atwater. The event is free and open to the public.

Library Exhibits Showcase Central Valley Culture

“From Hobos to Street People: Artists Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to Present" will be on display in the second floor of the library through Oct. 25. “Okie Poet Laureate: Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel" will be on display in the third floor through Dec. 19. Both exhibits are open and free to the public during regular library hours. For more information: (209) 658-7146.


CA Fresno Regional Launch
Kamilia Dews and Regent Fred Ruiz

Kamilia Dews and Regent Fred Ruiz


On Sept. 30, the Chancellor's Associates launched the first regional chapter with an inaugural reception in Fresno hosted by Baker, Manock and Jensen. Founding Fresno Regional Chancellor’s Associates Jerry Tahajian and Regent Fred Ruiz and Chancellor’s Pioneer Kamilia Dews were among the featured speakers. For information on joining the Fresno Regional Chancellor’s Associates: Terisa Rose, (209) 228-4109.

Heidi Kuhn to Speak at Holiday Reception – Dec. 3

Chancellor's Associates members are invited to attend the Chancellor's Associates Holiday Reception on Dec. 3 at UC Merced. The evening will feature a special presentation by Roots of Peace founder Heidi Kuhn. Roots of Peace is a California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to turning fields of land mines into productive agricultural use. Chancellor’s Associates members are encouraged to bring guests. For information: specialevents@ucmerced.edu or (209) 228-RSVP.


It’s with deep appreciation and gratitude that we acknowledge renewing Chancellor’s Associates donors Jane and Pope Lawrence, Brenda and Rudy Ortiz, and new Chancellor’s Associates E. Patricia Gebs and Fresno Regional Foundation.

Chancellor's Associates are a diverse group sharing a common dedication to UC Merced. Chancellor’s Associate members are invited to take part in many exciting events happening on campus. For information on joining the Chancellor’s Associates, contact Terisa Rose at (209) 228-4109.


Total amount of awards in September:

Total amount of awards from July 1, 2009 to August 31, 2009:

In the first quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year, our professors and staff have already brought in 50 percent of the total research funding from contracts and grants than was garnered in the entire previous year.



Founding Chancellor, Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, Remembered


The UC Merced campus community is mourning the passing of a visionary leader who overcame major hurdles to establish the first new UC campus in 40 years.

Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, who served so capably as founding chancellor from 1999 to 2006, died Oct. 10, in Decatur, Ga., with her family by her side. She succumbed after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.

“We are deeply saddened by Carol’s passing,” said Chancellor Steve Kang, who succeeded Tomlinson-Keasey in March 2007. “Simply put, UC Merced would not exist were it not for her visionary leadership, her tireless determination and her remarkable gift of persuasion. The campus, the UC system and the entire region have lost a great friend and champion with her passing. We will be forever thankful to Carol for the many, many contributions she made to the university and the people of the San Joaquin Valley.”

UC Merced Garners More Accolades for ‘Green’ Efforts

UC Merced wins Governor’s environmental Economic Leadership Award

Tom Lollini, Richard Cummings, Gov. Schwarzenegger, Brad Samuelson and Bruce Race


UC Merced continues to earn kudos for its environmentally conscious efforts and achievements.

Last month, UC Merced won the Governor’s Environmental Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) – California’s highest environmental award – for the campus’ 2009 Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP).

UC Merced was one of 15 award recipients honored Sept. 30 at a reception in Los Angeles during the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 2, a conference in which local government leaders from around the world discussed climate change. The LDRP, a 136-page document used to guide the campus’ physical growth, development and land-use priorities, won in the comprehensive land-use planning category."

Enrollment at UC Merced Grows 26% Over Last Year

If the campus seems busier this fall, that's because it is. The school, which began its fifth year of operation Aug. 25, has 26 percent more students on campus than last year.

There are 3,414 students enrolled this fall, up from 2,718 in the fall of 2008 and 875 in the university's inaugural year of 2005. The current total includes 1,128 freshmen, 145 new transfer students and 71 new graduate students. There are 108 international students who hail from about 30 countries also enrolled this term. Last year, UC Merced had 925 freshmen, 139 new transfers and 66 new graduate students. Based upon admissions numbers and traditional yield rates, UC Merced officials expected 3,200 students on campus this semester.This puts the campus on track to achieve a total enrollment of 5,000 students by fall 2013.


$1.3M Grant Funds UC Merced Center to Study Health Disparities

Studying health disparitiesA grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will enable UC Merced to create a center to research health disparities in ethnic underserved populations and train students interested in health-related careers, officials announced on Sept. 28.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1.3 million over two years to the university to spur the creation of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Health Disparities in Rural and Ethnic Underserved Populations.

"UC Merced is the ideal location for research and education on health disparities," said Chancellor Steve Kang. "Our region offers a natural laboratory for education, training and research in this area."

The goal of the center of excellence is to increase the number of UC Merced students who are knowledgeable about disparities in health care and health outcomes, improve the number of students from under-represented and disadvantaged groups performing research in this area, and expand the capacity of the university to conduct health sciences research that addresses disparities in the region.

David Kelley Receives $1.3M NSF Grant for Solar-related Research

David KelleySchool of Natural Sciences professor David Kelley has received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve luminescent solar concentrators, a device used in solar power generation. If successful, the technology can make solar power generation more affordable to use on a larger scale.

Kelley, along with professors Valerie Leppert and Boaz Ilan, will attempt to develop new kinds of luminescent solar concentrators, based on nanotechnology. Current concentrators on the market use silicon as semiconductors, an expensive material to use because of the steps needed to remove impurities.

Concentrators work by absorbing sunlight across a wide area then re-emitting it onto a small photovoltaic cell. A problem with existing luminescent solar concentrators - made of solar cells, along with glass or plastic and dye molecules that concentrate sunlight - is that the dyes are organic and don't hold up over time.

"This has the potential to be a transformative technology in solar energy research," Kelley said. “The hope is that over the three years, we will be able to develop a semiconductor that will do what we want it to do, or, we'll have a more clear understanding of why we can't."
[Read more]

Roland Winston Receives Watkins Physics Prize

Roland WinstonProfessor Roland Winston recently returned from Wichita State University where he discussed his solar research and was awarded the campus’ Watkins Physics Prize. Winston, a presidential endowed chair in the schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences, invented the field of nonimaging optics and has received numerous awards for his research and its applications to solar energy. He is also director of the California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (CAST), a multicampus research program between UC Merced and sister campuses at Berkeley and Santa Barbara.


Ambitious Recruiting Campaign Leads to Charitable Foundation

Mrs. Obama with UC Merced studentsLast May, a group of UC Merced students proved that with a little determination, no goal is impossible. Seventeen students, many in the campus’ inaugural class, launched a grassroots drive to entice First Lady Michelle Obama to deliver the Commencement 2009 keynote address.

The student-led initiative, known as the "Dear Michelle" Campaign, included a YouTube video, a Facebook campaign and more than 900 Valentine's Day cards.

And, the rest is history.

Now, that same group of students is channeling their passion to make a difference and help others by establishing the Dear Michelle Foundation.

Twelve members of the original Dear Michelle Campaign, Chinyerem Amesi, Erica Babalola, David Cheng, David Do, Efferman Ezell, Sam Fong, Chanita Intawan, Jessica Julian, Yang Li, Cybill Navarro, Jo-Anne Rodriguez and Yaasha Sabbaghian, began working on developing the foundation immediately after graduation.


Kelley Family Continues Legacy of Athletics Support

Kelley brothers support UC Merced athleticsClassrooms aren't the only place students receive an education. Athletics play an important role in many students' lives and are an integral part of the college experience.

From the beginning, the Kelley family has been dedicated supporters and advocates of UC Merced and its mission of teaching, research and service.

Education was extremely important to Georgette Kelley and has become a large part of her family’s legacy. Each year, brothers George, Kevin, Bob and Brian host the Ma Kelley Memorial Shoot-Out in her honor. The golf tournament currently serves as the only comprehensive athletics fundraising event of the year for UC Merced.

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